The “Matek” research project is set within the framework of a basic line of research at the Planning Studies Centre which, ever since its birth in 1965 - under the direction of Vera Cao Pinna and the permanent assistance of Wassili Leontief - has participated both in the international debate on the use of intersectorial matrices for the economies oriented at socio-economic programming and, at the official Bureau of Statistics, in the construction of input-output Tables or Matrices of the Italian economy.
In fact, Vera Cao Pinna has been a consultant of the ISTAT since the start of the actual concept-building of the Italian Matrix for sectorial inter-dependencies in the 1960s; and since the 1950s she has been elaborating an input-output Matrix of the Italian economy on behalf of the Italian administration of the Marshall Plan ( Mutual Security Agency ) under the guidance of Hollis B. Chenery (who was at that time in connection with Franco Archibugi, then officer at the CIR-ERP, a committee of the Prime Minister's Office of the Italian government and in charge of the management of the ‘Marshall Plan' in Italy); she has also built an input-output matrix of the region of Sicily, which was one of the first examples of a regional matrix in the world; finally, it was under her direction that the Planning Studies Centre assisted the Office of Statistics of the European Communities (the future Eurostat) with the construction of technological matrices in the economies of the Community. At the Centre, Vera Cao Pinna formed a team of qualified experts in the field of input-output matrices (among which stand the names of Camillo Righi, Bruno Ferrara, Maurizio di Palma) and was constantly collaborating with Wassili Leontief - in terms of consultancy as well as friendship - who, until his death, couldn't have done more for the Center.
The Planning Studies Centre, with all its historical vicissitudes, has found itself in a tight connection with the issues concerning the knowledge and assessment of the separate structures of the economy with the enlightenment coming from the leontievian input-output relations, either from a theoretical point of view or from that of the data collection and elaboration. One of the busier moments, so to speak, was in the early 1970s when the Center (on behalf of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and also of its research institution, the ISPE) took on the direction of a project incorporating the construction of an ‘Accounting Framework for Socio-economic Planning' (named “ Progetto Quadro” ) which intended to allow systematic and preventive control of the planning as well as the conditions and the effects of many decisions in economic policy. Such an Accounting Framework has never before been put into operation due to the crisis of the economic planning in Italy, nor has it been assisted by the presence of a firm and enlightened academic economic culture. It has, however, remained to be a step forward for a general methodology of socio-economic planning. The ‘core' of the Accounting Framework was, in effect, formed both by an input-output matrix within the productive sectors, and by its functionality in the face of the target: either a final allocation of resources (final consumption) or the employment of the primary sectors of production, i.e. labour, capital and non-reproducible territorial and natural goods.
In the framework of this historical and permanent line of research, the Center felt the need to evaluate the state-of-the-art regarding the matter, through this research project (Matek), funded by a grant from the CNR. The research project produced a Report (only in Italian), which has later been published alongside those of the Center.
For a quick summary of the report click here.